I met Arnette in June when we were introduced by another travel blogger named Jai (thanks Jai!) We had a great dinner at Phnom Penh in Chinatown with yet ANOTHER travel blogger Jeanette and we ate, drank and did what all travel bloggers do-take photo’s of our food!
Arnette and I got together one more time before she went home to California. We were supposed to just go out for drinks but in a stroke of luck we actually got to hang out with the guys who won the Biggest Baddest Bucket List competition that both Arnette and I entered in the spring. Read her blog post about it HERE!
I’m curious about YOU:
1. Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Arnette. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Vancouver, Canada and live in southern California. That is where my storage unit is anyway.
2. What is your website called and what’s it all about?
My website is www.rtwgirl.com, which stands for Round The World Girl. I originally started the blog as a retrospective of my 19 month, 19 country round the world trip for my friends and family. I didn’t have a blog while traveled so now it’s a place to share things I did, photos, food finds as well as current travel, reviews, and random life musing. It’s really about anything these days.
I’m curious ABOUT FOOD:
3. What is the most curious thing you’ve ever eaten? (curious meaning weird!)
Nothing too crazy in my opinion. I’d probably say all the variations of blood sausage or blood stews. Morcilla in Spain, blood sausage in the UK, and dinuguan (dee-na-goo-ahn) in the Philippines which is like a pork blood stew. Kangaroo steak and sausage, which is not that weird, in Australia. I didn’t eat organs before but now I have a I’ll try everything once attitude. I actually ate deep fried sweetbreads with waffles in Toronto at Hoof Raw Bar just a few weeks ago and loved it.
4. I love to cook and try to re-create dishes that I’ve had while traveling. Do you have a favourite meal that ends all meals? What was it and where did you have it?
I’d say my friend Matt Abergel’s cooking. We are old friends from when he was a fledgling chef in Vancouver. He moved on to train under Masa Takayama in NYC, was executive chef at Zuma in Hong Kong and now co-owns Yardbird and Ronin with his business partner Lindsay Jang. His forte is Japanese food but any meal made by him whether at home or in his restaurants is always amazing. Dinner at Yardbird is a must. I have yet to go to Ronin as it just opened early this year. I’ve sent friends visiting Hong Kong and even took my cousins to eat there last year. No one leaves there unhappy. Go there and let the servers help you with cocktails and food. While I was visiting Hong Kong, Matt made dinner a few times at his place and those were the best. It always seemed like there was absolutely nothing in the fridge or cupboards yet he’d wave his wand and tasty food would come out of the kitchen. He’s one of those people who is a natural talent. Google him, he’s got a few recipes in Food and Wine that you can recreate. I know you love Japanese food!
I’m curious ABOUT ART:
5. Is there a particular genre in art that you love (like The Impressionists or the Renaissance Masters) or a favourite artist?
I love street art and artists who started out on the streets and have become respected contemporary artists, like Rhys Lee and Jose Parla. I love art for good causes, so I love what JR is doing. Check out his Wrinkles in the City or Women Are Heroes Projects.
6. I’m an art destination traveler. I went to Malaga, Spain just to see where Picasso was born and had to go to Florence, Italy to see Michelangelo’s David. Have you ever gone out of your way to see a particular piece of art?
I wouldn’t say that I go out of my way to see art but I’ll see as many galleries and museums as I can when traveling. I took the bus from San Sebastian to Bilbao to go to the Guggenheim for the day. I will go back to France to go to Giverny and Monet’s home and garden.
I’m curious ABOUT CULTURE:
7. Do you have a phrase that you absolutely MUST LEARN in the language of the country you’re visiting?
Hello, please, thank you, goodbye, “I don’t speak so and so language” and “a beer please”. It’s important to learn key phrases to not only get by but to respect the people and the place. It’s a good way to break the ice as a foreigner.
8. Where is the most culturally different place you’ve ever been and what made it so different?
I would say Japan. When I was in Tokyo it was actually more difficult language wise to interact with people. I did a lot of sign language and smiled. It worked but it was harder than I thought it would be, being a huge metropolitan city. I was truly “Lost In Translation”. I am obsessed with the culture, fashion and the food. They take everything to the next level in a beautiful way, whether food, fashion or presentation. I can’t wait to go back.
I’m curious ABOUT THE WORLD:
9. Who is the most curious person you’ve met while on the road (it can be a single person or a whole tribe!)
I met this woman Vicky and her husband John in the Philippines. I was introduced to them by my friend Becky who I met on a snorkel tour. I went out for dinner with them while we were in El Nido and next thing you know, they invited me along to a quiet somewhat off the grid destination with them for a few days. We spent our time deserted island hopping, sharing travel stories, and drinking lots of beer. I loved teaching them about Filipino cuisine which is still quite unknown to the masses. They were in their 60s and had so many stories of traveling the world. They just liked to explore and experience new cultures. After our stint in Palawan, John was meeting his buddies to watch Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong and Vicky was going to solo travel through some quiet islands in the Philippines. I loved that even though they were married, they did separate solo travel as well and were still very adventurous at their age.
I also met a fellow in the Philippines who searched the world for islands for rich billionaires to buy. I forgot his name now but talk about a killer job.
10. Where in the world are you most curious to visit that you haven’t been?
The Middle East and North Africa. Obsessed. The food, the history, the culture, the textiles…